This was never an issue with Diablo II. My copy was registered to me and if anyone else that wasn’t me tried to get onto battle.net they simply wouldn’t be allowed. I had the freedom to play the single player campaign which gave me randomly generated maps every time through, let me pause the game if I had to step away from the computer, and most importantly, play it whenever the hell I wanted. And if I had the desire to play with friends, which I did frequently, we would simply start a LAN game or get on open battle.net and go to town. Or play my separate battle.net characters. So why on earth would they change stuff up now?
Last August, Blizzard’s VP of Online Technologies Robert Bridenbecker sat down with MTV to discuss the always-on issue and said the following: "Internally I don't think [DRM] ever actually came up when we talked about how we want connections to operate. Things that came up were always around the feature-set, the sanctity of the actual game systems like your characters. You're guaranteeing that there are no hacks, no dupes. All of these things were points of discussion, but the whole copy protection, piracy thing, that's not really entering into why we want to do it. I'm a huge purveyor of online sites and from my standpoint, I don't look at DRM solutions and go, 'Wow, those are awesome.' I look at those and say, 'Wow, those kind of suck.' But if there's a compelling reason for you to have that online connectivity that enhances the gameplay, that doesn't suck. That's awesome."
Diablo III Senior Producer Alex Mayberry also cited World of Warcraft as evidence of this being the direction gaming is going, but as I mentioned I don’t see how comparing a game with single player component to an MMO that has no single player components is valid. I still think the shortcomings outweigh the benefits. Sure, I understand that in Diablo II, since the characters were stored on my computer, I could lose my character in a computer crash or alter and create characters and equipment out of game. But I could still play whenever the hell I wanted. And Diablo III now has a battletag system for communication and stores characters safe and sound on their servers. But I still can’t play whenever the hell I want. Worthless account-wide achievements so players can show off? Sweet! But I still can’t play whenever the hell I want.